Great things were expected from Dawkins when he arrived at Tallahassee as a high school All-American from South Carolina. He led Byrnes High, located between Spartanburg and Greensville, to an undefeated state title as a senior defensive end by accumulating 14 sacks.
He played in his first three games on campus, making two tackles, including a sack, but wound up redshirting the year due to injury. Dawkins returned to play in every game in 2009, seven as a starter (14 tackles, 3.5 for loss, and a sack). The following year, he again came out strong, starting the first seven games and eventually playing in all 14 –- though midseason surgery on a broken thumb slowed him down the second half of the season (39 tackles, six for loss, 2.5 sacks). Finally healthy and earning the starting nod in all 13 games in 2011, Dawkins earned honorable mention accolades even though his production actually decreased (25 tackles, three for loss, two sacks) because of the defensive line depth consistently brought onto the field by FSU coaches.
Entering his final season with the Seminoles, Dawkins and the rest of the defense were looking to once again help Florida State win another ACC title and a BCS championship. Dawkins earned second team All-Conference honors.
Quick, penetrating defensive tackle with an explosive first step. Good hustle as a pass rusher, trying to shed even when his initial move doesn’t work. Low center of gravity helps him get under the pads of blockers to push them into the backfield. His quick feet give him the first step to be effective and the agility to burst past his man and adjust to mobile quarterbacks trying to avoid him within the pocket. Slippery, and has a nice inside swim and outside rip move. Active in pursuit from the backside. Feels pressure well, and re-directs when his initial stunt takes him away from the ball.
Plays a bit out of control at times, getting into the body of his opponent and getting taken out of plays, or ending up on the ground when trying to out-quick his man. Does not have elite size or strength to get through better linemen once they are anchored – which could also cause him issues standing up to NFL offensive linemen on a down-by-down basis as a starter. Poor pad level prevents him from being able to get under offensive lineman’s pads. Does a good job re-directing with his spin move, but gets overly reliant on it once its successful. Gets overpowered often at the point of attack and pad level causes him to struggle against base blocks and double teams.
An active interior presence who didn’t rack up huge numbers due to Florida State’s constant defensive line rotation (4.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks over the last two years) but possesses the quick first step and hands to be a thorn in the side of NFL offensive lines. If a coach can work on his pad level and improve his ability to anchor, he might have potential as a starter down the line. He projects to be a Day 3 draft pick.
Future Hall of Famer
A once-in-a-generation type prospect who could change how his position is played
An impact player with the ability/intangibles to become a Pro Bowl player. Expect to start immediately except in a unique situation (i.e. behind a veteran starter).
A quality player who will contribute to the team early on and is expected to develop into a starter. A reliable player who brings value to the position.
A prospect with the ability to make team as a backup/role player. Needs to be a special teams contributor at applicable positions. Players in the high range of this category might have long-term potential.
A player with solid measurables, intangibles, college achievements, or a developing skill that warrants an opportunity in an NFL camp. In the right situation, he could earn a place on a 53-man roster, but most likely will be a practice squad player or a camp body.